Exercise guidelines for adults (between 19 and 64 years old) advise that we should either complete 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 of moderate activity over the course of a week. In addition to this, we should do muscles strengthening execise twice a week. You don’t have to be stuck inside a sweaty gym or spending any money to achieve your targets, though: simply get outdoors!
Not only are the surroundings and views more varied than seeing yourself sweating in gym mirrors, there are lots more options for outdoors exercise. Get swimming in the lake, run on the beach, climb a mountain, ride your bike down the trails, practise yoga in that deserted open field or even just spruce up your garden for the day.
Our environment outdoors is constantly changing, whereas a gym is static. Hiking up a mountain or running on the beach, each variation in the landscape forces you to adapt and use your muscles and body slightly differently with each step you take - helping to improve balance, coordination and strength.
Impact on wellbeing
The mind is more stimulated by outdoor exercise, as it has to pay more attention to what your body is doing due to the altering terrain. Being outdoors also allows you to focus more on nature and take time to yourself; indoor exercise at the gym has lots of noise and distractions that may not be as conducive to a calmer mind. Research has suggested that doing the same activity outdoors as indoors has more of a benefit to our overall mental wellbeing.
Getting sunshine on your face is actually something your body craves: we need sunlight to maintain our vitamin D levels. Research suggests that overweight people should aim to be outdoors more as they are more likely to be vitamin D deficient than people of a healthy weight.
You don't need to pay a monthly membership to go outdoors, specialist equipment or even to spend anything to travel to do your exercise. If you want to avoid the additional fuel, bus fare or parking charges, simply use your garden, balcony, local park or just walk the beat of the streets in your local town or in the local vicinity of where you live - it doesn’t always have to be green to count as outdoors!
Exercise related AnatomyStuff resources
Exercise Guidelines for Adults Poster
Healthy Lifestyle 4 Poster Collection (A2 Laminated)
One Pound (1lb) of Fat Model
One Pound (1lb) of Muscle Model
Understanding Obesity Chart / Poster - Laminated
Further reading / sources
Vitamin D in overweight people
Benefits of exercising outdoors